Oakland City Council Okays Instant Runoffs



The Oakland City Council voted 6-2 tonight to use ranked-choice voting in this year's election, meaning city voters will decide on who will be the next mayor in November — not in June. The move is a boost to the campaign of Councilwoman Jean Quan and others who may now decide to jump into the mayor’s race. And it’s a setback to ex-state Senator Don Perata who tried to block the new voting system from going into effect in 2010 and would have benefited from the traditional primary and general election format because of his fund-raising prowess and strong name recognition.

Council members Desley Brooks and Larry Reid joined with Quan, Rebecca Kaplan, Pat Kernighan, and Nancy Nadel in voting for the new system, which also is known as instant runoff voting, while Vice Mayor Ignacio De La Fuente and council President Jane Brunner voted against.

Ranked-choice voting supporters were unsure before the meeting about how Brooks and Reid would vote, and while both council members said that they had serious concerns about the new system and about whether it will confuse voters, they said they could not go against the mandate of 69 percent of Oakland voters who approved ranked-choice voting in the 2006 election.